Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Flipping & Differentiating for Multiplication Strategies

Like every classroom, there are so many different levels of conceptual understandings and skills when it comes to multiplication. 

To cater to all the different learning levels, last week I experimented with flipping our classroom whilst also giving the children choice in what they learn.

I gave them the following google doc for home learning:

Multiplication Strategies

Choose two strategies to learn.

Record on the paper provided.

Teach your Mum or Dad the strategy and ask for feedback about your teaching method.

Google doc link: Feel free to copy and use!

The children chose two of the strategies explained via YouTube according to how they assess themselves with understanding multiplication.

As always, when the children are given these three columns we discuss how there is no shame of which level of strategies they choose to do, but that it is important to choose a level that suits where they are at.

They were also given the following to record their understandings, practise the strategy and then to teach their parent the strategy:

We discuss a lot how we can build strong neuron pathways particularly in maths learning and we practise peer teaching others a lot as a means of building them. This time though, I thought it would be interesting for them to teach their parents and then the following week to peer teach classmates what they learnt.

Some samples of what they recorded from their self-learning:

It's pretty exciting to see the diversity in strategies and learning that took place at home during the week and all of it differentiated (and slightly student-owned?!?) 

In groups of 3, we first chose the most interesting or what we felt was the most useful strategy we had learnt and recorded how we could explain it at the same time as our partners on a y-chart.  

To add a bit of creativity, we also created a catchy name for the strategy we had learnt. Some really funny ideas emerged from doing this. 

Some samples:

Each child in the trio was then given 7 minutes to teach the others in their group how the strategy worked and to give them questions to practise and assist them with the strategy.  They used their explanations on their y-charts as a visual teaching tool. 

Students peer-teaching:

A lot of engaged and interesting learning took place for those 21 minutes.
Students asking questions for clarification, wonderings and evaluating the usefulness of the strategies they were being taught.  

Some groups took their learning further by debating which strategies were more effective and one group decided to have a race amongst themselves by trying to solve the same question but using their own learnt strategy to see which was the faster method. 

Following this we grouped together and reflected on what we had discovered about multiplication:
-        °  There are so many strategies to multiply

-   °   We need to practise to perfect the strategy.

-   °     Some strategies are really difficult and others really easy.

-   °     Some strategies take much longer than others

-   °    Some strategies don’t always work for some numbers

-   °   Some strategies suit some people better than others

-   °    Always check if your strategy is correct

-   °      Some strategies require us to add, subtract or divide even though we are multiplying!

     We then discussed our thoughts about this learning process we went through.  We all agreed that what we did really helped us build strong neuron pathways for those strategies. As one student explained: first we needed to learn and understand the strategy. Then, explain it visually, Then, create our own questions to test it out.  After that, we needed to think of a clear way to communicate it to our parents. Then, we created a different way to visually explain it and then teach two others how it works. 

     Some others felt it was an effective way to learn because they could a level that matched their needs and another remarked how she really liked reading the feedback commnet her mum had written for her.

    Another student shared that he liked being able to learn the strategies at his own pace at home because he feels he sometimes needs extra time to understand new concepts.

d   A lot of amazing learning took place this week and for class filled with so many different levels, I think this was a really successful strategy in trying to meet them all.  

    To conclude, we discussed ways we could improve this activity next week after we learn two more strategies for home learning this week and will try out some of the suggestions that were shared to make our learning even more effective.
    Asking children to suggest better ways we can learn helps them to gain a better sense of responsibility towards their own learning, and I freely admit, they often come up with much better ways than I think of :)

    To see another flipping fir home learning activity we did for percentages earlier this year click here: Percentages Flipping


   One week later after enquiring into two more different strategies........

I've never experienced a bunch of kids being excited about multiplication before.

First thing in the mornings, kids are bundling taking off their bags and talking about 'cool' multiplication strategies they learnt the night before and sharing them with me and their peers. 

This all started with an idea I've played with a few times this year of flipping our classroom.  

Here is the link of how we have been enquiring into different multiplication strategies: Click here 

Over the past fortnight, the children have now self and peer taught 4 strategies of their choosing.  Today, we spent time peer-teaching with partners or in trios the strategies we had learnt and then to collect our thoughts in reflection, we published the strategies and reflected on how this enquiry impacted our thinking about multiplication.

To bring some some creativity, we came up with our own catchy names for each strategy.....

Some samples:

Excited children about multiplication- tick!

Student-owned - semi-tick!

Engaging - tick!

Deepened conceptual understandings - tick!

Differentiated -tick!

Reflective mathematicians - tick!

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